Scott Burnside recently wrote about Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg and his recent request to be traded. And in that piece, Burnside, links the Boston Bruins and the New York Islanders to the top-pair right-handed defenseman.
I get why Burnside linked the Islanders to Klingberg. The Stars D-man has been incredibly productive in the last few years and the Isles don't have a top-end defender that can put up points. But should the Islanders make a move here?
No. If this is the target the Islanders feel they need to acquire then go all-in on Jakob Chychrun. Not John Klingberg. You might ask why?
New York Islanders shouldn't target John Klingberg
To be clear Klingberg apparently didn't ask for a trade. He's frustrated with contract negotiations. This is a tactic to get the Stars to do something. But still, assuming he is available should the Isles go for him?
I get the appeal. He's a defenseman that's put up a ton of points in his career. His 344 points since 2014-15 rank him ninth in scoring for defensemen. He carries the puck well, can obviously drive play offensively, and can carry a power play. Check-check-check, right?
Sure, but there's more to consider here. Like what will the cost be to acquire him? How much will the Islanders have to give up to get him at by the trade deadline? Consider that a decent depth-defenseman costs at least a second-round pick at the deadline. Now inflate that cost for a top-ten defenseman. It's not going to be cheap. Easily a first-rounder and another piece?
And for a player that will be a free agent by the end of the season, that's a lot to give up.
Not to mention he alone might not be enough to pull the Islanders into a playoff spot. Even I have to admit getting into the playoffs will be tough for the Isles, even with Klingberg. So if the Islanders can't get into the post-season and Klingberg goes to free agency, then what?
Are the Islanders going to give Klingberg that eight-year ~$66 million contract he's looking for? That doesn't sound like Lou. I know he likes vets but paying $8.25 million per year for the next eight on a player who is entering his 30yo season isn't something he does.
That's why going after Jakob Chychrun is a better option. Again, assuming the Isles want a top-pair defenseman to add to the roster.
Chychrun is much younger and has an affordable contract that won't expire until 2024-25 (where he'll only be 26). He's not nearly as productive as Klingberg (we're talking about 0.681 Pts/G for Klingberg to Chychrun's 0.405 Pts/G), but the ceiling seems to be just as high.
So, again, who knows if Lou Lamoriello is looking at either option, but if he's considering making a play for Klingberg I'd recommend against it — ideally I'd tell him to get a winger — if Chychrun is available.